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Traditions of Oʻahu: Koʻolaupoko

Stories of this island before high-rises, freeways and hotels, before sugar plantations and pineapple fields, before churches and the Bible.

Stories by Districts - Koʻolaupoko


Ko'olaupoko is the southeastern district of the windward coast O'ahu, from Kualoa in the north to Waimanalo in the south. ("Ko'olau" means "windward"; "poko" means "small"). The lands are well watered by streams; Kane'ohe Bay, with the only barrier reef in Hawai'i, has a protected lagoon known for its abundance of fish and its numerous fishponds, where mullet and milkfish were fattened. The delicious uhu, or parrot fish, is the famous fish of this land, from Kane'ohe Bay to Maunalua Bay. The land section of Kualoa was sacred to the chiefs, and the home of the famous Tahitian voyaging chief La'amaikahiki while he lived in Hawai'i. Kaulu is the most well-known demigod of Ko'olaupoko, similar to Kamapua'a of Ko'olauloa and Maui of Wai'anae.


Map of Oahu: Ko'olaupoko

Voyaging Chiefs of Kane'ohe Bay

Dennis Kawaharada
Kane'ohe Bay is surrounded by some of the most well-watered lands in Hawai'i and some of the most beautiful mountains in the world: the Ko'olau Range­peaks, two to three thousand feet high, joined by walls of sheer green cliffs. Ka Moa'e (the ENE trade winds) sweeps warm moist air into the mountains and clouds form along the summit. Rainwater has cut steep gullies into the cliffs giving them their distinctive wrinkled appearance. When it rains, dozens of thin silvery waterfalls run down the vertical gullies; half obscured by rain and mist, the waterfalls seem to pour directly from the clouds. The names of ahupua'a around the bay celebrate the life-giving water that collects in the mountains and flows through the rolling hills and flatlands into the Bay: Waiakane ("Water of Kane"), Waiahole ("Water [of the] ahole fish"), Waihe'e ("Slippery water," or "Water [of the] octopus"). Water was so highly prized in ancient Hawai'i, it was synonymous with wealth and life. Such "Wai-lands" were coveted by chiefs and priests; in one version of the story of the pig-god Kamapua'a, the priest Lonoaohi, who saved Kamapua'a's life, asked for all the wai-lands of O'ahu; and the generous (or foolish) pig-god granted his wish. Kane'ohe Bay is named for the ahupua'a and stream on its southern end: Kane, the god of water, and 'ohe, bamboo, one of his kinolau (bodies), which flourishes on the rainy windward sides of the islands (Abbott 15; Handy and Handy 205-206).

On March 8, 1975, below the peak of Kanehoalani ("Kane, Heavenly Companion") and the broad cliffs of Mo'o Kapu o Haloa ("Sacred Section of Haloa"), in Hakipu'u near the border of Kualoa at the north end of Kane'ohe Bay, a 62-foot replica of a double-hulled voyaging canoe slid down a coconut log ramp and floated calmly at sea. The canoe was named "Hokule'a," "Star of Gladness," after Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern sky, and a zenith star of Hawai'i. Hokule'a had been built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society to sail an ancient migration route between Hawai'i and Tahiti, celebrated in traditional stories. This launch site was chosen because of the voyaging traditions associated with Kualoa, where the voyaging chief La'amaikahiki ("Sacred One from Tahiti") lived, and Hakipu'u, the home of a voyaging chief named Kaha'i. Other famous voyaging chiefs such as Paumakua lived in the lands around Kane'ohe Bay. Even Laka, whose story is told throughout Polynesia, found a home in the Bay; he is said to have ruled over Ko'olaupoko, the windward district of O'ahu (Beckwith Hawaiian Mythology 264), living in Waiakane and dying either in Kualoa or at Ahua-a-Laka.

1. 'Ahua-a-Laka
On the southwestern side of the barrier reef enclosing the lagoon of Kane'ohe Bay is a mile-long sand bar which becomes an island at low tide. When we were kids, my father would anchor there on our way back from fishing trips around the bay to let us swim and play in the shallow waters; today entrepreneurs transport tourists to the sand bar to rent them jet skis, wind-surfing boards, and snorkeling equipment. On modern maps the sand bar is labeled "Ahu o Laka," translated "Altar of Laka" (Pukui et al Place Names). An alternate name, 'Ahua a Laka, "Sand Bank of Laka," is suggested in a chant about Laka (Kamakau Tales 145-146):

[Laka] died at Kualoa.
To Mokoli'i, to Mokuahukele ["Island Mud Heap"],
To the pooled sea at 'Apua [a fishpond of Kualoa], the calm sea;
To Makami there in Wai'ahole,
To Hale'ula [Laka's house site] there in Waikane,
To Hakipu'u, to Kualoa,
To sea, to Ahua-a-Laka ['Ahua-a-Laka],
Laka-a-Wahieloa was taken;
Taken by Lu'anu'u [Laka's son].
By Lu'anu'u he was taken to the island
To the ancestral homeland, Maui

The chief Laka was born in Kipahulu, Maui (or some say Hilo, Hawai'i) (Kamakau Tales 135-136). The chant above records his son Luanu'u's journey to transport his bones back to the sacred burial site in 'Iao, Maui, the island of Laka's birth and the home of his ancestor 'Aikanaka, of Hana. The son of Laka and Hikawaolena, a chiefess of Kaua'i, Lu'anu'u grew up in his mother's homeland and came to O'ahu when his dying father summoned him (Tales 29).

The chant, seemingly a mere listing of stops in a journey of the spirit home, is a verbal map which may have also served as a device for remembering narratives explaining the significance of each of these places in the life of Laka. (Hawaiian chanting is an art of allusions to places.) Kamakau, in another version of the story, says Laka died at Ahua-a-Laka: "When Lu'anu'u came, he took Laka to Waikane and shortly before his death to Ahua-a-Laka where Laka died. That place is called by his name to this day" (Tales 29).

Laka and Luanu'u appear 33 and 34 generations after Papa and Wakea, in the genealogy of 'Ulu, from which ruling chiefs of Hawai'i Island and Maui trace their ancestry:

1. Wakea and Papa
14. Ki'i and Hinako'ula
15. 'Ulu and Kapunu'u
29. 'Aikanaka and Hinahanaiakamalama
30. Hema and Luamahekoa (or Ulamahehoa)
31. Kaha'i and Hinaulu'ohi'a
32. Wahieloa and Ko'olaukahili
33. Laka and Hikawaelena
34. Luanu'u and Kapokulaiula

(Kamakau Tales 135-147; cf. Malo 238 and Kepelino 191-192. Papa and Wakea are the Earth Mother and Sky Father of Polynesian religion According to a widely accepted Hawaiian tradition, they are the first ancestors of the kanaka maoli, standing at the beginning of genealogical time. In one chant, they are said to have given birth to the islands of Hawai'i, Maui, and Kaho'olawe [Beckwith Hawaiian Mythology 302]. Kamakau, on the other hand, presents a genealogy in which Papa and Wakea, born at Waolani, in Nu'uanu, O'ahu, appear twenty-seven generations after the first man, Kanehulihonua ["Man made from earth"], and the first woman, Keakahulilani ["Shadow changed by heaven"]. These two "progenitors of the people of Hawai'i and of all those who dwell in the islands of the Pacific" were created by Kane, Lono, and Ku, the main Gods of the Hawaiian pantheon at the time of European contact. The three Gods made "a model of the lands of the earth" in Kane'ohe Bay between Kualoa and Kane'ohe; when they saw there was no chief to rule over all things, they drew a man in the red-black soil "on the eastern flank of Mololani [a rise near Heleloa Beach on Mokapu Peninsula], facing the sunrise and near the seashore"; then they chanted the figure to life: "Hiki au; e ola!" ["I have come; live!"] The first woman was created from the shadow of the first man [Kamakau Tales 130-2]. Kamakau's localized creation story contains both Polynesian and Biblical elements.)

The five descendants of 'Aikanaka and Hinahanaiakamalama down to Laka and Luanu'u are associated with voyaging. The theme of their stories is the importance of maintaining or restoring chiefly mana through contact with an ancestral homeland. Mana is the creative and procreative power of the Universe: it makes plants grow, fish and animals multiply, the human population increase; it makes human projects, such as building houses, canoes, lo'i (kalo ponds), or fishponds successful. It is embodied in "specific gods, spirits, individuals, rites, or objects. Mana was exhibited in persons, in power, strength, prestige, reputation, skill, dynamic personality, intelligence; in things in efficacy, in 'luck'; that is in accomplishment. These qualities were not mana; they were the evidences of mana, which was itself but the focussing and transmission of the potency of nature" (Handy Polynesian Religion 26).

A ruling chief was at the apex of Hawaiian society and had the greatest concentration of mana on earth because he was closest to the gods. His mana came from the gods from whom he was descended. He was "the means by which supernatural efficacy, mana, is conveyed to society at large. The chief is mediator, receiving and transmitting the offerings of the people to the ancestral and tribal deities. It is he who, on behalf of his people, recites the appropriate ritual formula for securing rain, bountiful harvests, success in fishing, or victory in war" (Kirch Evolution 37). His mana was revealed in great achievements and the wealth and productivity of his lands: "The wresting of food and material goods from nature was a fundamentally religious process precisely because the natural world was the realm of the gods. The chiefs occupied the central role in the ritual regulation of production" ( 38).

Because the ali'i embodied the mana of his land and people, only their lengthy genealogies were recorded in memory. Kirch points out that "descent and control went hand in hand" (257). The chiefly right to control lands was established through genealogy. Kamakau notes that "the children of the maka'ainana were taught only the names of their fathers, mothers, and grandparents" (Tales 80).

Chiefly genealogies record the flow of mana from the first man and woman who received the original mana from the gods, down through the generations. Narratives accompanying the genealogies tell how the ali'i maintained their mana by worship of and obedience to the gods, who required fair and just rule, and by marriage to someone of like rank; how they increased their mana through marriage with a person of higher rank; how they lost mana when they disobeyed the gods and behaved badly or committed wrongs against the people and thus, became separated from the divine source of mana.

The voyaging stories of Hawai'i record the flow of mana through ties between the new homeland (Hawai'i) and the old (Kahiki­Tahiti, or any foreign land). The voyaging canoe was the means for transporting this mana, embodied in persons or objects, from one island to another.

The story of each chief begins with his birthplace, where the mana of the gods entered him. (A form of biographical chant first composed in Hawai'i for Kapawa, 26 generations after Papa and Wakea, records the specific places where the caul, placenta, and navel cord were deposited). If the place of a chief's birth was different from the home of his maternal ancestors, the father had to return to that home to retrieve a birth-gift embodying the mana of these ancestors. (Tracing ancestry through mothers was more certain than tracing it through fathers.) The gift was something sacred, identified by the color red ('ula). Thus, in the fifth month of his wife's pregnancy, 'Aikanaka's son Hema sailed from Hawai'i to the home of his wife's parents in Kahiki to get a birth-gift for his son Kaha'i­the 'apo'ula, a sacred wreath of red feathers, or the 'ape'ula, possibly a sacred red kapa cloth used to wrap an image of the god Ku (Kamakau Tales 94). Later in this cycle of voyaging, Kaha'i's son Wahieloa sailed from Hana, Maui, to Punalu'u in Ka'u on Hawai'i Island, the home of his wife's maternal ancestors, to search for a birth gift called "Ala-koiula-a-Kane" as a toy for his son Laka. (Thrum Hawaiian Folk Tales 112; according to Pukui-Elbert, "Ke ala ko'i'ula a Kane" is "The rainbow-hued trail of Kane," an allusion to death; the term in Thrum is untranslated.)

If mana was somehow held captive in a distant place, it had to be retrieved. On his voyage to Kahiki to get his son's birth-gift, Hema was captured by some fishermen, and his eyes were gouged out to be used as fish-bait (Thrum More Hawaiian Folk Tales 71). A chant records that Hema was "seized by the 'a'aia bird" (a legendary bird in the form of the 'a, or booby; figuratively Hema "went crazy"; or the 'a'aia could be a symbolic reference to fishermen or a god of fishermen, as this seabird fishes in the open ocean and was a guide to finding fish.) Hema's eyes were said to be at 'Ulupa'upa'u, in Kahiki, where Kaha'i went to retrieve them, treading the "ke ko'i'ula a Hema"­"the rainbow-hued trail of Hema" (Kamakau Tales 142). Eyes were an embodiment of mana, or more specifically knowledge, 'ike, which was based on both literal and figurative "seeing." Pukui points out that one form of ritualized cannibalism to gain mana was to scoop out and eat the eyes of an enemy (Nana i ke Kumu 151).

Kaha'i went to retrieve his father Hema's mana; at the same time he revealed his own mana through a successful voyage which is celebrated in chant (Kamakau Tales 142):

The rainbow was the pathway of Kaha'i;
Kaha'i ascended, Kaha'i pushed on,
Kaha'i tr[o]d the rainbow-hued trail of Hema;
The eyes of 'Alihi [Kaha'i's brother] gazed in bewilderment.
Kaha'i tr[o]d along the reflected light,
The man like a canoe on the reflected light;
Above was Hanaiakamalama [the Southern Cross];
This was the pathway to seek the father of Kaha'i,
To travel over the deep, dark ocean,
That roars at Halekumukalani.

After his search for his father's eyes, Kaha'i returned to Hawai'i and settled in Ka'u on the island of Hawai'i, where he eventually died. (In Tahitian tradition, the mana of Tafa'i [Kaha'i] came from his mother Hinatahutahu, an underworld goddess. He descended into the underworld Po to find his father, whose eyes had been scooped out by the gods. Tafa'i brought his blind father home and took care of him [Henry Ancient Tahiti 552-565]).

Kaha'i's grandson Laka sailed from Maui to Hawai'i Island to find and retrieve the bones of his father Wahieloa, who had been captured and killed by a cannibal woman named Luahine Kaikapu, his bones deposited in a cave called Kaualehu, at Koloa, in Punalu'u, Ka'u. (Bones, like eyes, were associated with mana; specifically, mana resided in the bones, the most durable body parts, after a person's death; bones were hidden for fear that they would be stolen by an enemy and made into fish hooks.) Laka tricked Luahine into opening the cave, then killed her, found his father's bones, and brought them back and buried them at Papa-ulu-ana, Kaumakani, in Kipahulu, Maui. Laka's canoe was also left at this site (Beckwith 263-264).

Laka received help from his ancestors to carry out his quest­Laka's canoe was built by his divine relatives Mokuhali'i and Kupa'aike'e, gods of canoe-building; and when he went to get his father's bones he was accompanied by seven makua ("parents," "benefactors," "providers"), including father Searcher (makua 'I'imi), who found the secret cave; father Prop (makua Poupou), who kept the mouth of the cave open, and father Stretch (makua Kiko'o) who reached into the cave and retrieved the bones (Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology). These makua personify ancestral abilities, specific kinds of mana. Apparently, after his successful quest to retrieve his father's bones, Laka moved to O'ahu, settled in Waiakane (Photo: Landgraf 23), and left his name on the sand bar in Kane'ohe Bay.

Variants of the stories of Hema, Kaha'i, Wahieloa, and Laka have been recorded throughout Polynesia­in Tahiti, Tuamotu, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Mangaia (Cook Islands), the Marquesas, Vaitupu (Ellice Islands), Pukapuka, Samoa, Tonga, and the Santa Cruz Islands (Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology 259-275). These stories of four generations of chiefs either originated in Hawai'i and spread elsewhere; or perhaps were brought to Hawai'i by voyaging chiefs from the South Pacific and localized by Hawaiian genealogists. In the Tahitian tradition, Kaha'i, or Tafa'i, as he is known there, was a great voyager who "fished up" (i.e. discovered) Hawai'i, a fact which is remembered in the phrase "the fish-line of Kaha'i" in a chant by Kamahualele, the foster son of Mo'ikeha, another famous voyaging chief of Hawai'i (Beckwith Hawaiian Mythology 355). That the story of the Hema family is so widespread in Polynesia suggests the importance of its theme: the need for the ali'i to remain connected to the mana of the homeland.


2. Kualoa-Ka'alaea-Kane'ohe
Kane'ohe Bay is also associated with the voyaging saga of a family of chiefs which included Mo'ikeha, his son Kila, his heir La'amaikahiki, and his grandson Kaha'i. These chiefs appear in the genealogy of Nana'ulu (Kamakau Tales 76-77), on which chiefs of Maui, O'ahu, Kaua'i, and Ni'ihau trace their ancestry back to Papa and Wakea.

1. Wakea and Papa
14. Ki'i and Hinako'ula
15. Nana'ulu and Ulukou
29. Maweke and Naiolaukea
30. Mulieleali'i and Wehelani
31. Mo'ikeha and Hina'aulua
32. Ho'okamali'i and Keahiula
33. Kaha'i and Kehenu

'Ulu and Nana'ulu were sons of Ki'i, who appears 13 generations after Papa and Wakea; the genealogies that flow from these two brothers run parallel to each other. Mo'ikeha's grandfather was a chief named Maweke, who appears 15 generations after Nana'ulu, making him a genealogical contemporary of 'Aikanaka, father of Hema. The sons of Maweke ruled O'ahu­Mulieleali'i in the southeastern district of Kona (Fornander Ancient History 48) or "the western side" of O'ahu (Kalakaua 118); Keaunui in 'Ewa; and Kalehenui in the windward district of Ko'olau (Fornander Ancient History 48; Kalakaua 118):

The traditions of Mo'ikeha and La'amaikahiki have been published in Fornander (Vol. IV, 112-128), Kamakau (Tales 77, 105-110), and Kalakaua (117-135). The broad outlines are consistent, but the details are various: Kalakaua identifies the homeland of Mo'ikeha and La'amaikahiki as Hawai'i; La'amaikahiki was a high chief of O'ahu and an adopted son of Mo'ikeha. The Fornander version says that Mo'ikeha belonged to Tahiti and that La'amaikahiki was Moi'ikeha's son by his first wife Kapo. Kamakau presents two versions. First, La'amaikahiki was a high chief of O'ahu, born to Ahukai and Keaka-milo at Kapa'ahu in Kukaniloko, Wahiawa, the sacred birthing place of O'ahu chiefs. This chiefly child was "taken" by Mo'ikeha, perhaps in an attempt to control the future ruling chief. This taking seems to have provoked an attack by his older brother Kumuhonua, and a sea battle was fought between Kumuhonua and his younger brothers 'Olopana and Mo'ikeha. (Conflict over land and the right to rule between the senior and junior lines of a family is a common motif in Polynesian and Hawaiian chiefly traditions; Kalakaua says that 'Olopana and Mo'ikeha left O'ahu because they were not satisfied with their prospects under their older brother.) Kamakau gives a second version of the story, in which Mo'ikeha belonged to Kahiki and La'amaikahiki was a chief of Kahiki whom Mo'ikeha, after he settled in Hawai'i, designated as his heir. Whatever the case, La'a, whose name means "Sacred One," possessed great mana. The voyaging back and forth between Hawai'i and Kahiki is motivated by the need to obtain his mana.

All the stories agree that at some point Mo'ikeha, 'Olopana and his wife Lu'ukia, and La'amaikahiki were together in Tahiti or Ra'iatea, an island 120 miles WNW of Tahiti. Mo'ikeha departed for Hawai'i after some unhappy experience: either he was frustrated after a man named Mua slandered him and his lover Lu'ukia refused to sleep with him anymore (Fornander); or he was caught undoing Lu'ukia's chastity belt (a sennit lashing) for which he was "severely criticized" (Kamakau Tales 105); or 'Olopana was jealous of his younger brother's increasing popularity and influence, and rebuked Mo'ikeha publicly for his "extravagance and love of display" (Kalakaua 121).

Whatever his reason(s), Mo'ikeha left the southern islands and arrived at Hawai'i Island, then sailed downwind across the island chain and settled in the Puna district of Kaua'i (at Kapa'a or Wailua). He learned of a sailing contest to win the right to marry Ho'oipo, the daughter of the chief of Puna. The contest was open to "all of noble blood." Mo'ikeha chanted his genealogy from Wakea down to his grandparents Maweke and Naiolaukea and his parents Mulieleali'i and Wehelani, ruling chiefs of O'ahu (Kalakaua 128); thus, he was allowed to enter the contest and he won by beating his rivals to the island of Ka'ula 22 miles SW of Kaua'i and bringing back a palaoa (whale tooth) from the chief's representative, who had been sent there earlier. His victory was assured by La'amaomao, the god of the winds, who had come with Mo'ikeha from Ra'iatea and who carried an ipu, or gourd, from which he could call forth winds favorable to his chief. (For another story involving this Hawaiian wind deity, see M.K. Nakuina's The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao.)

Mo'ikeha had seven sons by Ho'oipo (Kalakaua); or three sons by Ho'oipo-i-ka-malanai, who was also known as Hina'au-lua (Kamakau); or five sons by two sisters named Ho'oipo-i-ka-malanai and Hinauu (Fornander). Three of the sons were named Ho'okamali'i, Haulani-nui-ai-akea, and Kila, who, in all three versions, was the third and favorite son.

Mo'ikeha became the ruling chief of Puna after his father-in-law's death. As he grew old, he longed to see La'amaikahiki, the son (or foster son) he had left behind in Kahiki; or he wanted to bring his designated Tahitian heir La'amaikahiki to rule his lands in Hawai'i. Mo'ikeha held a contest to determine which of his five sons would get the honor of sailing to Tahiti to bring La'amaikahiki back (Fornander). Each of his five sons tried to send a ki-leaf canoe downstream between his thighs; only the canoe of Kila hit the mark, revealing his knowledge and understanding of the winds and currents in the stream and establishing that his mana was greater than that of his brothers. He was chosen to head the expedition south.

Kila reached Tahiti and brought La'amaikahiki back to Hawai'i (Fornander and Kalakaua); or 'Olopana refused to let La'amaikahiki go to Hawai'i, as this young ali'i was also heir to lands in Tahiti; but after 'Olopana's death, La'amaikahiki decided to sail to Hawai'i because he had heard about the fertility of the land and the industriousness of the people (Kamakau).

So sacred was La'amaikahiki, he had been hidden away in the mountains of Kapa'ahu (Fornander). Kila was required to make a human sacrifice before he could enter the marae, or temple, where La'amaikahiki was worshiping his god Lonoika'ouali'i ("Lono of the royal supremacy" or "Lono in the chiefly signs in the heavens"). La'amaikahiki brought this god to Hawai'i. Lonoika'ouali'i was the god worshiped by the Mo'o Lono (the hereditary order of Lono), one of two orders of kahuna, or priests, maintained by the 19th century king, Kamehameha I, who was the last ruling chief to worship the ancient gods: "Their rituals were those of the god Lonoika'ouali'i, the kapu lama [ritual to obtain lama trees to build fences, houses, and towers in an agricultural heiau?] and the kapu loulu [ritual for dedicating a heiau to insure peace and prosperity; loulu palm leaves were used for thatching], which were heiau rituals. Lonoika'ouali'i was the visible symbol [image] of the god Lononuiakea ["Great, broad Lono"]" (Kamakau People 7; cf. Kamakau Works 130-144; Ii 33-45; Malo 159-176).

(The second priestly order maintained by Kamehameha I was the Mo'o Ku, the hereditary order of Ku, which carried out the rituals for the god Kunuiakea­"Great, broad Ku," one of whose manifestations was Kuka'ilimoku, "Ku, island snatcher," the feathered war god of Kamehameha; and the kapu 'ohi'a ko­a ritual for cutting down 'ohi'a trees to build structures and provide a Ku image for a heiau of human sacrifice [Kamakau People 7 and Works 130-144; Ii 33-45; Malo 159-176]. Hewahewa, the kahuna nui of the Mo'o Ku during Kamehameha's reign, was a descendant of the famous voyaging chief Pa'ao, who brought Kuka'ilimoku to Hawai'i. Thus, the two most powerful priestly orders and gods during the time of Kamehameha I were connected with two of the most famous voyaging chiefs in Hawaiian tradition­La'amaikahiki and Pa'ao. The stories of these two chiefs were kept alive by their descendants.)

Besides introducing the god Lonoika'ouali'i to Hawai'i, La'amaikahiki also brought the pahu hula, or hula drum, and traveled about the islands teaching the art of dance accompanied by the drum (Fornander). The drum was noted for its loud voice, like the voice of a god, and hence embodying great mana. The drum brought from Tahiti by La'amaikahiki was heard in the trade winds at Hanauma Bay as La'amaikahiki's canoe crossed the Kaiwi Channel between Moloka'i and O'ahu; it was heard at Makapu'u as the canoe entered Kane'ohe Bay (Kamakau Tales 109). As a receptacle of the voice of the gods, the drum was eventually used in religious ceremonies and accompanied the most sacred dances:

the sounds of the pahu are referred to as leo (voice) and the drum head is referred to as waha (mouth). During state rituals in the large open-air heiau, the pahu was a receptacle for a god who spoke through the "voice" of the drum. Today, the "voices" of pahu heiau are believed still heard on certain nights of the month from the archaeological remains of heiau throughout the islands (Liner Notes, Hawaiian Drum Dance Chants: Sound of Power in Time).

Kalakaua emphasizes La'amaikahiki's genealogy as the source of his mana: "In his veins ran the noblest blood of Oahu. He was the son of the great grandson of the great Paumakua in direct and unchallenged descent" (133). After La'amaikahiki settled at Kualoa (Photo: Landgraf 3) on the north end of Kane'ohe Bay, the local chiefs found three wives for him. And in a great display of procreative mana, three children were born to him, all on the same day: Lauli-a-La'a by Mano in Kane'ohe (Landgraf 92-93); Kukona-a-La'a by Waolena at Ka'alaea (Photo: Landgraf 35); and Ahukini-a-La'a by Hoaka-nui-kapua'i-helu at Kualoa (Kalakaua 134-135; Kamakau Tales 109-110).

The locations of the homes of his three wives, from the south end of Kane'ohe Bay to the north, suggests a generous spreading of his mana over the surrounding area.

After the births of his three sons, La'a returned to Tahiti to rule over Mo'ikeha's lands there (Fornander); or to Ra'i'atea to rule over 'Olopana's lands (Kalakaua; Kamakau does not report what happened to La'a after the triple marriage and triple birth). Fornander says that after Mo'ikeha's death, La'amaikahiki returned to Hawai'i a second time to take Mo'ikeha's bones back to the ancestral lands in Tahiti; but through his children, he left his mana in Hawai'i, becoming an ancestor to the chiefs of Hawai'i, Kaua'i, and O'ahu. "You will find his chiefly descendants in the mo'o ku'auhau (genealogy) of Nana'ulu, Puna-i-mua, and Hanala'a-nui"; Mo'ikeha's son Lauli-a-La'a, appears in Kamakau's genealogy of Nana'ulu (Tales 78, 110). And "From Ahukini-a-La'a Queen Kapi'olani, wife of Kalakaua, is recorded in descent through a line of Kauaian chiefs and kings" (Kalakaua 134-135).

At the end of Waiakalua Road, on the southern end of Kane'ohe Bay, is a small beach park where hau trees grow along the dark brown sandy shore. On the mud flats off shore, we used to lay nets for crabs, using bloody aku heads for bait. In the late sixties, we dug for clams there, too, but the clamming was good for only two seasons; by 1969, there were too few clams, their disappearance attributed in part to "[s]oil erosion, associated with unusually heavy rain" (Devaney et al 101).

A portion of this beach is named Na One a La'a, "The Sands of La'a."(Kamakau Tales 109). When La'amaikahiki's canoe arrived at Waiakalua from Hale-o-Lono, Moloka'i, a man named Ha'ikamalama chanted the mele of his drummer Kupa (which Ha'ikamalama had heard in the wind at Hanauma Bay and at Makapu'u as La'amaikahiki's canoe sailed to Kane'ohe.) Surprised by the man's knowledge of the chant, La'amaikahiki "threw down some sand as a resting place for the canoe" and landed. The place name commemorates this landing. Ha'ikamalama was allowed to play the pahu of Kupa and made a copy of it: a gourd fitted with a shark-skin head. (Pahu were later made from hollowed-out coconut trunks or breadfruit logs as well.) Near Na One a La'a was the house where La'amaikahiki once lived; and on a low hill nearby was his heiau, called Kalaoa (Sterling and Summers 209-210).

Just offshore of Ka'alaea, near the border of Waiahole, is a group of small stones called "Na Wa'a Li'ili'i Kiolea"­"The small canoes [of] Kiolea" (Sterling and Summers 191; Photo: Landgraf 39). Pu'u Kiolea is the highest peak on the ridge that runs from the Ko'olau mountains down toward the stones. Kiolea is "a high, unsafe seat," perhaps a local lookout (or Ki-o-Lea, "the ti plant of Lea"?; cf. "Ka-ipu-o-Lea" in the chant below). The offshore rocks are said to be the remains of canoes that brought sands and "a mapu tree" from Tahiti. The sands nearby are called the sands of La'amaikahiki­a safe landing place for canoes (Photo: Landgraf 37):

I Onehuna, i Onehali (At Hidden-sands, at Fetched-sands)
A kele 'akiu, a kelekele 'akiu, (Sail to safety, sail, sail to safety)
Ke one i Mahinahina, (At the sands of Mahinahina)
Ka-ipu-o-Lea la. (Is the gourd of Lea).

Onehuna­the sands hidden (huna) perhaps because the landing place was submerged at high tide; or because it was known only to local residents. Or Onehuna could mean "fine, powdery (huna) sand." "Fetched-sands" recalls the tradition of La'amaikahiki throwing down sand at Waiakalua­a practice perhaps established by him to create canoe landing sites around the Bay. Lea ("the gourd of Lea") is a goddess of canoe-building, suggesting this place was not just a site for landing, but for building and launching canoes:

E Mokuhali'i, Kupa'aike'e, Lea, (O Mokuhali'i, Kupa'aike'e, Lea,)
Eia ka pua'a (Here is the pig,)
He uku, he makana, he 'alana (A reward, a gift, an offering,)
He mohai ia 'oukou (A sacrifice to you.)
Ua pa'a ka wa'a [inoa] (The canoe [name] is finished,)
A e ho'olana 'ia aku ana i ke kai (Ready to be launched in the sea)
(Pukui "Canoe Making" 25; cf. Gutmanis 79)

A kapu haunts the stones of "Na Wa'a Li'ili'i": once a haole road-builder came to take the stones. He ordered his men to break up the stones and carry the pieces off. The native workers refused; the haole workers complied. The haole road-builder and workers all died soon after their desecration of the site.

On the north end of Kane'ohe Bay the ahupua'a of Kualoa ("Long Back") lies beneath the peak of Kanehoalani (Photo: Landgraf 7). The cliffs of Paliku fall away to either side; the cliffs are also called Mo'o Kapu o Haloa ("Sacred Section of Haloa"). Haloa was the son of Wakea by his daughter Ho'ohokukalani. Born a shapeless mass, Haloa was buried in the ground and reborn as kalo, the Hawaiian staff of life. Haloa means "Long Breath" or "Long Life." Ha, or breath, like the eyes and the bones, is associated with mana. It could "impart mana, 'magical power,' as when a priest would exclaim 'Ha!' (Pukui and Korn The Echo of Our Song 26). The breath of a god could bring or restore a person to life.

After the first Haloa became the kalo plant, another son was born in human form, and was also called Haloa, an ancestor of La'amaikahiki (Kamakau Tales 134). While he was in Hawai'i, this famous voyaging chief lived beneath these sacred cliffs, named for one of his ancestors.


3. Hakipu'u
Mo'ikeha's grandson Kaha'i-a-Ho'okamali'i (Ho'okamali'i was Mo'ikeha's first son) was also a voyager, famous for having sailed to Wawau, 'Upolu, and Savai'i (Possibly places in Samoa and Tonga, but more likely in Tahiti Nui­Wawau, 'Upolu, and Savai'i, or Havai'i, were ancient names for Borabora, Taha'a, and Ra'iatea.) Kaha'i-a-Ho'okamali'i brought back a breadfruit tree from 'Upolu and planted it in Pu'uloa, 'Ewa, where his father lived (Kamakau Tales 108). Another tradition says that Kaha'i lived in Hakipu'u (Photo: Landgraf 15), next to Kualoa, and it was there he planted a breadfruit tree he brought back from 'Upolu (Sterling and Summers 186). The breadfruit tree embodies mana in food plant form, a blessing to the people. (In one tradition, the god Ku is said to have turned upside down and become a breadfruit tree in order to feed his family during a famine; see Pukui Folktales 8). For the gift of this food plant, Kaha'i is remembered. Because of his daring voyages, Kaha'i was honored by the ali'i: "He was raised by the chiefs to their own kingly rank. And never again need he lower his sail­not for a chief nor a priest nor a king. It is said that in 1795, when the conquering chief [Kamehameha] rounded this island [O'ahu], [he] lowered his sail [when he passed Hakipu'u] to show his respect for the daring Kaha'i." (Sterling and Summers 186). (Was this Kaha'i the same Kaha'i as Mo'ikeha's son, or a namesake? Mo'ikeha's son was already a chief and would not have had to be "raised by the chiefs to their own kingly rank.")

Another tradition asserts that the lowering of sails in north Kane'ohe Bay was out of respect for the sacredness of Kualoa, which was a training ground of chiefs as well as a pu'uhonua, a place of refuge where those condemned to death could seek safety (Sterling and Summers 178).

4. Mokapu
In the 'Ulu genealogy, ten generations after Hema, is a voyaging chief named Paumakua, who was born at Kua-'a-'ohe (Kua-wa-'ohe), between the land sections of Heleloa and Ulupa'u Crater, on Mokapu Peninsula (Photos: Landgraf 71, 77, 79), which embraces the southern end of Kane'ohe Bay. (This Paumakua was perhaps a namesake of the one whom Fornander identifies as the great grandfather of La'amaikahiki.) In the time of Auanini, the grandfather of Paumakua, the first haole arrived off of Mokapu in a ship named Ulupana. Molo Lana was the ship's captain; Malaea, his wife; and Olomana, Aniani, and Holokamakani, crew members. The story implies that the famous peak below Konahuanui in Kailua was named after this Olomana (Kamakau Tales 113; a different tradition of the naming of Mt. Olomana is given in Pukui's Place Names). Paumakua went voyaging to foreign lands, perhaps to the lands of these haole visitors. A chant (Kamakau Tales 96) celebrates his voyaging achievements:

Paumakua, the chief of Moena-i-mua,
The chief who traveled to Kahiki,
To Kahiki in the wide sea,
The gentle, the precious, the swift-moving one.

Paumakua is said to have brought back white kahuna (priests, or experts in some art or profession) named Ka'eka'e and Maliu, and a white ka'ula (prophet) named Malela. Malela's eyes are remembered for expressing his great mana: Ka haole nui maka 'alohilohi; he aholehole maka 'a'a; ka pua'a ke ke'oke'o nui maka 'ula'ula": "The big foreigner with bright sparking eyes, a young ahole fish with staring eyes; the large white pig with reddish eyes" (Kamakau Tales 95-97). The story of Paumakua shows that the chiefs of Hawai'i were not afraid to bring mana (knowledge, expertise, power of prophecy) from a foreign source through voyaging to support the mana of a chief in Hawai'i. Many generations later, Kamehameha enlisted haole who were experts in Western weaponry to defeat his rivals.


5. The Modern Revival of Voyaging
By the time Captain Cook reached the Hawaiian Islands in 1776, voyages between Hawai'i and Tahiti and other foreign land were distant memories of the traditional past. The last voyage to and from the South Pacific recorded by the genealogical chants of Hawai'i was made by the priest Pa'ao, five generations after Paumakua, in the time of La'au. Pa'ao came to Hawai'i from Wawau (Borabora) and Taha'a ('Upolu) (Kamakau Tales 97), after a dispute with his brother Lonopele. When he arrived, Lanakawai (or Lonokawai) was the ruling chief of Hawai'i Island. Pa'ao lived on Hawai'i "until the kings of Hawaii became degraded and corrupted (hewa)" (Malo 6); they had "sinned by intermarriage with commoners, thus diluting the sacred blood" (Pukui Folktales 69). Like Mo'ikeha's son Kila, Pa'ao sailed to Tahiti to bring back a chief who would replenish the mana in Hawai'i from its source in the South Pacific. Pa'ao brought back with him Pilika'aiea to replace La'au, the chief who ruled after Lanakawai: " Pili ruled as mo'i after La'au. You will see Pili there in the line of succession, the mo'o ku'auhau [genealogy] of Hanala'a-nui [a branch of the 'Ulu genealogy]" (Kamakau Tales 100). The chiefs of Hawai'i Island down to Kamehameha trace their ancestry from Pili; the priests of Ku under the ruling chiefs were descendants of Pa'ao (Pukui, Folktales 69).

Why did voyaging end after Pa'ao? The motive of voyaging was to maintain contact with a distant homeland, the original source of mana. After the ruling chiefs had obtained the mana of Pili, they maintained it through intermarriage among their own ranks (Kame'eleihiwa Native Land, 40-44), righteous government and behavior, proper worship of the gods, and innovations which made the land prosperous. Thus, there was no longer a need for ties with the ancestral homeland. After Pili's arrival in Hawai'i, archaeological evidence indicates a period of remarkable expansion of the productive capabilities of Hawaiian agriculture, aquaculture (the fishponds associated with Ku'ula kai), and fishing. The population grew into the hundreds of thousands.

The ruling chiefs had the mana to sustain their communities in productive and healthy isolation for six centuries after Pa'ao­without metal, fossil fuels, electricity, engines, electronics, manufactured chemicals, plastics, and other modern inventions. Menzies, a naturalist with the British explorer Vancouver, described Waikiki in 1792:

The verge of the shore was planted with a large grove of cocoanut palms, affording a delightful shade to the scattered habitations of the nativesWe pursued a pleasing path back into the plantation, which was nearly level and very extensive, and laid out with great neatness into little fields planted with taro, yams, sweet potatoes, and the cloth plant [wauke] (qtd. in Handy and Handy 482).

With the coming of foreigners, the mana of the ruling chiefs and people was severely tested. The kanaka maoli suffered the loss of family members to introduced diseases, such as small pox, tuberculosis, influenza, and measles, their population plummeting from an estimated 800,000 to 40,000 during the 19th century (Stannard 50-52); the loss of their gods, when the ruling chiefs abandoned their native religion and became Christian converts (1819); the loss to foreign capitalists of lands once held by the chiefs for the common good and made sacred by the gods; the loss of sovereignty, when a group of haole businessmen, with the support of U.S. Marines, overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy and took control of government and education (1893). Hawaiian children were forbidden to speak their native language in English-only schools. In the 19th and 20th centuries, an influx of immigrants, brought from Asia and other parts of the world by capitalists to create a pool of inexpensive labor, further weakened the Hawaiian language and culture. Today, the islands are multiethnic, with those of Hawaiian ancestry making up less than 20% of the population.

In this context of almost two centuries of assault on the mana of the kanaka maoli, the voyaging canoe Hokule'a was launched at Kualoa in 1975. What was originally planned as an scientific experiment to test a theory of Polynesian migration became part of a revival that included not just voyaging, but language, ceremony and protocol, hula and chant, canoe-building, kalo farming, kapa-making, featherwork, wood-carving, lua (a martial art), and so on. People practicing these traditional arts have begun to re-establish a healthy relationship between themselves and the land and sea and to reveal the mana inherent in the successful performance of these arts.

Hokule'a's first voyage from Hawai'i to Tahiti took place in 1976, and despite conflict between two factions on the canoe, the voyage was a success. Those who thought that the oral traditions recounting such voyages were fictions and who doubted that traditional navigational techniques could be used to guide sailing canoes across 2,400 miles of open ocean were proven wrong (Finney Hokule'a). The navigator of Hokule'a was Mau Piailug from Satawal, a tiny atoll in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, where the ancient traditions of navigating by celestial bodies, winds, ocean swells, and sealife had survived into the 20th century (Lewis). An aging Tevake, the last known Polynesian navigator, from Pileni Atoll in the Santa Cruz Reef Islands, had left in his canoe in 1970 and disappeared at sea. According to one source: "Tevake made something in the nature of a formal farewell before his departure from Nufilole, and it would seem that either he had a premonition of disaster or, more likely, that he simply paddled out to sea in the manner of the Tikopians and did not intend to arrive" (Lewis 309). He had chosen a navigator's death.

In 1980, Hokule'a made a second voyage to Tahiti, this time navigated by Nainoa Thompson, a descendant of ali'i from Hawai'i Island on his mother's side and from Kaua'i and Maui on his father's side. He had studied traditional navigation with Mau, but also Western astronomy, oceanography, and meteorology to speed up the learning of traditional techniques. (Mau was trained as a navigator from infancy, when he was placed in tide pools so he could feel the movements of the ocean; Nainoa began his study as a young man in his 20's.) After guiding Hokule'a 4,800 miles to Tahiti and back, Nainoa sighted the island of Hawai'i (Kyselka Ocean in Mind), just as Mo'ikeha, La'amaikahiki, and Pa'ao had done centuries earlier.

The 1976 and 1980 voyages of Hokule'a rekindled an interest among the kanaka maoli in reconnecting with ancestral homelands to the South. Other voyages followed­to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1985-1987; to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in 1992; to Nukuhiva in the Marquesas Islands in 1995. Each voyage has been a reenactment of the past, as well as a rite of passage for young kanaka maoli seeking mana from ancestral spirits and wisdom in traditional ways.

In 1929, on a Bishop Museum expedition, anthropologist Te Rangi Hiroa (Peter Buck) visited the marae of Taputapuatea in the district of Opoa, on the island of Ra'iatea. The marae was once the most sacred place in all of Polynesia­the center of the Polynesian world, the head of the octopus of Ta'aroa (Kanaloa), a place where canoes were built and navigation was taught. In the wake of colonialism and the Pacific-wide suppression of Polynesian culture and religion, the marae was in ruins. Standing there, the half-Maori, half-Irish Buck lamented the loss of Polynesian mana:

I had made my pilgrimage to Taputapu-atea, but the dead could not speak to me. It was sad to the verge of tears. I felt a profound regret, a regret for­I know not what. Was it for the beating of the temple drum or the shouting of the populace as the king was raised on high? Was it for the human sacrifices of olden times? It was for none of these individually but for something at the back of them all, some living spirit and divine courage that existed in ancient times and of which Taputapu-atea was a mute symbol. It was something that we Polynesians have lost and cannot find, something that we yearn for and cannot recreate. The background in which that spirit was engendered has changed beyond recovery. The bleak wind of oblivion had swept over Opoa. (Buck 85)

Sixty-three years after Te Rangi Hiroa's visit, in 1992, Hokule'a stopped at Taputapuatea on its way to Rarotonga to participate in a festival of Pacific arts, which was celebrating the revival of Polynesian and Pacific voyaging inspired by the canoe's travels. After entering Te Ava Moa ("The Sacred Pass") and anchoring in the lagoon off Taputapuatea, the crew, some of whom traced their ancestry back to Ra'iatea, were welcomed onto the marae. The gift the crew brought with them was a pahu drum named Poki'i ("Younger sibling"), carved from a coconut log, with a shark-skin head lashed on; it was a descendant of the first pahu brought to Hawai'i from Tahiti by La'amaikahiki centuries earlier.

At Opoa, a gathering of Polynesian navigators took place, organized by Nainoa Thompson. New navigators from Hawai'i, the Cook Islands, and Aotearoa discussed their sail plans and course strategies for voyages they were about to make, or had just made. The meeting at Opoa was attended by Mau Piailug, who had made this revival of Polynesian wayfinding possible through the sharing of his knowledge with Hawaiians eager to learn. The gathering was a way of showing Mau (an honorific name meaning "Brave") that his knowledge of wayfinding was being passed on to others; once planted by his teaching, it had rooted, branched, leafed, flowered, and was now bearing fruit. Through the recovery of traditional knowledge and beliefs, the mana that Te Rangi Hiroa lamented had been lost forever to "the bleak wind" of colonialism was re-emerging at the end of the 20th century.

Since 1975, Hokule'a had traveled far from its place of birth in Kane'ohe Bay; its successes have shown that its birth was an auspicious one, that the canoe was pleasing to the gods. (See the Polynesian Voyaging Society Website at

Kaulu, Part 1

Rescues His Brother Kaeha
Kuka'ohi'alaka was the father and Hinaulu'ohi'a was the mother of three boys. Kaeha was the first-born, Kamano the second, and Kaulu the last-born.(a) Kailua in K'oolaupoko was their birthplace. Kaeha, the oldest, loved and cared for Kaulu; Kamano hated and mistreated Kaulu. Kaulu stayed in his mother's womb five years before he was born because he heard Kamano threaten to kill the next born child. When Kaeha heard this, he asked Kamano: "Why should you kill the next child?" When Kaulu heard Kaeha's reply, he said to himself: "You will save me at birth, and I will save you later on."

Kaulu was born in the form of a piece of rope. Kamano saw that the newborn did not have a human form and said: "If you had a human body, I would kill you."

Kaeha took up the piece of rope and put it up on a shelf, where it remained unnoticed for a month. Kaeha in the meantime was carried off by akua (mischievous spirits) to a place in the sky called Lewanu'u (where birds fly) and Lewalani (where the stars are). The gods Kane and Kanaloa lived there.(b)

Kaulu remained on the shelf until his body took on human form. When he awoke, he looked around the inside of the house and saw that his oldest brother Kaeha was missing. He went out of the house and looked up in the sky. He saw his brother had been carried away by the akua to Lewanu'u and Lewalani, so Kaulu followed after him.

Coming to where the heavy surf was beating on the shore, Kaulu asked: "E big surf, are you strong?"

The surf replied: "Yes."

Kaulu asked: "How strong?"

"I strike from above, and when I catch someone, I toss him about," said the surf.

Eight waves then struck Kaulu, but he remained standing.

Kaulu then called to his hands, "E Hakaukahi, my right hand, and Limapaihala, my left hand."(c)

"What is it?" replied his two hands.

"Strike below, strike above."

Kaulu then broke the surf into small waves, and thus the surf remains till today.

He then continued on his way until he met other spirits (kupu), the small and large ocean swells. He said to them: "You only make the ocean white with foam, you aren't very strong."

The waves replied: "We are strong and brave."

A fight began and Kaulu smashed the ocean swells; thus, they are small today.

After this he continued on his way until he met Ku'ilioloa, a giant dog that guarded the land and the sea. Another battle was fought in which Ku'ilioloa was torn to pieces, so dogs are small today.(d)

When Kaulu arrived in the land where his brother was living, he approached the house and hid himself in the leaves of a loulu palm tree. At dusk that evening, the akua told Kaeha: "Let's prepare some 'awa." They got some 'awa and prepared it to be pounded. After Kaeha pounded a sufficient quantity, he went outside to cool himself. Kaulu came out of his hiding place and met his brother. Kaeha asked: "Who is this little fellow?"

"I'm Kaulu, your youngest brother, whom you placed on the shelf. I love you, so I came to look for you."

Kaeha then said:"Let's go and drink 'awa with the akua."

Kaulu said: "Yes, tell the akua to drink their 'awa first, and you will take yours after them. But before you drink yours, offer a little to me as your god by saying: 'Here is our 'awa.' Then I'll shout: 'Drink it, but let me have the intoxicating portion.'"

After this conversation, Kaulu returned to hide in the palm leaves, while Kaeha returned to the house to join the akua in 'awa-drinking. When Kaeha entered the house, the akua said to him: "Drink your 'awa first."

Kaeha replied: "No, you drink yours first."

After the akua then drank theirs up, Kaeha said to the akua: "Now be quiet while I drink my 'awa." Kaeha then took his cup of 'awa and offered up a drink to Kaulu: "Here is our 'awa."

Kaulu shouted out from the palm tree, "Drink it, but let me have the intoxicating portion."

When the akua heard this, they began pinching one another and said: "What a wonderfully loud-voiced god you have, Kaeha!"

Because of this trick played by Kaeha and Kaulu, Kane and Kanaloa were puzzled, so they sent Kolea (golden plover) and his mate to fly up to Makali'i to inquire about the loud-voiced god of Kaeha. When Kolea and his mate arrived, Makali'i asked them: "What brings you two here?"

"We've been sent by Kane and Kanaloa to ask you about the loud-voiced god that calls out from the darkness."

Makali'i replied: "That's Kaulu, the youngest brother of Kaeha. He is all-powerful and strong, and he's hiding in the palm leaves."

When Kolea and his mate reported to Kane and Kanaloa what Makali'i had told them, the akua went and searched for Kaulu in the palm leaves, but couldn't find him.

The akua continued to get intoxicated on 'awa every night. One night Kaulu got some large stones and placed them where the akua slept at night. In the middle of the night the akua woke up and bumped their heads against the stones.

The akua were angry and tried to find fault with Kaeha so they could condemn him to death. One day they said to Kaeha: "You must find your own food now, as you've eaten all of ours." So Kaeha was forced to look for his own food.

When Kaulu saw Kaeha looking for food, he took Kaeha with him and flew to Manowaikeoo, a land owned by Kane and Kanaloa where all the food of the akua was raised. The place was guarded by two pairs of men--Uweliki and Uweleka and Maalaka and Maalaki. Maalaka and Maalaki saw Kaulu and Kaeha coming, so they dug a deep, steep trench and Kaulu and Kaeha fell into it. When Kaulu saw that they were in trouble, he called out:

E Kaulu e, dig down;
E Kaulu e, stretch out;
E Kaulu e, double up.
Four singles, Four doubles.

Kaulu got out of the trench and grabbed Maalaka and Maalaki, saying: "I'm going to kill you two."

They answered: "If we're killed, no one will guard this land." Kaulu let them go. He and Kaeha continued on their way until they found Uweleki and Uweleka on the opposite side of the land. These two guards asked: "What brings you two here?"

Kaulu replied: "The bounty of this land."

The guards saw that Kaulu was a very small boy. They didn't think he could carry very much, so they allowed Kaulu to have all he wanted. Kaulu took all he could find and ate up all the things he could lay his hands on: the vegetables, the fish, the pigs, the chickens, everything that was growing, everything that had been planted. After Kaulu took all that he could find, he flew up and blocked the sun, causing darkness to come over the land. The two guards begged Kaulu to give them back some of the food so that they could raise more. He gave them one taro top, one potato leaf, two hogs, two chickens and so on.

Kaulu and Kaeha returned to Kane and Kanaloa and offered them all the food. The two gods were surprised by all this food, which was just like the bounty of Manowaikeoo. They sent Kolea and his mate to Makali'i to ask him where all these good things came from. Makali'i told them that Kaulu had invaded Manowaikeoo and stolen the food. The messengers reported to Kane and Kanaloa what Makali'i said.(e)

The akua were very angry with Kaulu and Kaeha, so they enticed Kaulu to go surf-riding. When the two brothers arrived where the surf was breaking, the akua called on all the sharks to capture Kaeha and offer him as sacrifice to their king, Kukamaulunuiakea. This was a huge shark; no one could see his whole body. When his mouth was opened, the top jaw reached the sky while the bottom jaw touched the bottom of the sea; his body was entirely covered with coral.(f)

As Kaeha came near the shark, he was swallowed whole and carried away. When Kaulu discovered his brother was missing, he asked the akua where his brother had gone. They replied they didn't know. Kaulu suspected he had been killed. He went to the seashore, stooped down and drank up the sea, so that all the fish were stranded on the dry bottom. Kaulu then began to search for his brother in all the different kinds of fish--the mano (common shark), the niuhi (tiger shark), the lalakea (white-finned shark), and the hihimanu (stingray). He searched the four corners of the sea, but couldn't find his brother, so he flew up to Makali'i to ask about the whereabouts of Kaeha. He found the god lying on his back, face up, and pinched him near the groin, saying: "You're dead, Makali'i, unless you tell me where my brother is."

Makali'i replied: "Your brother has been swallowed by a shark."

"Which shark?"

While Kaulu questioned Makali'i, Ko'ele'ele ("Crack of Thunder"), a younger brother of Makali'i, came with a large rock called 'Ikuwa ("Noisy, thunderous"), which was larger than the island of Maui.(g) Ko'ele'ele was full of wrath and very strong. He heaved the rock above Kaulu, but Kaulu caught it with his poi finger and held it up, saying: "'Ea, your rock is harmless."

When Ko'ele'ele saw this, he ran away.

Kaulu then asked of Makali'i: "Tell me which shark swallowed my brother and also where the shark lives."

Makali'i looked down, but he was unable to see anything below, so he chewed some kukui nuts and blew the oily substance over the atmosphere beneath them [which caused it to become clear]. He saw the shark that had swallowed Kaeha and pointed it out to Kaulu: "It's the one overgrown with coral."

Kaulu went and asked the shark: "Have you seen my brother?"

Kukamaulunuiakea, the king of the sharks, replied, "I've swallowed him; he's now inside me turning into shit."

Kaulu asked the shark: "Are you strong?"

"Yes, my upper jaw reaches the sky and my lower jaw touches the bottom of the sea."

Kukamaulunuiakea then opened its mouth to show off. Kaulu propped open the mouth with a stick and called for his brother to come out. Kaeha came out. His hair had all fallen off, making him bald. Then Kaulu killed Kukamaulunuiakea, and shark's spirit flew up to heaven and turned into Ka I'a ("The Fish," or Milky Way).

Kaulu and Kaeha returned to shore, Kaeha in front and Kaulu behind. Kaulu vomited out the sea water. Because of this, sea water became salty, and remains so till today.(h)

When the akua saw Kaulu and Kaeha returning, they said to themselves: "Kaeha has survived."

After this the akua again tried to kill Kaeha by inviting him to go and play on a swing (lele koali). They led him to a place where a swing was rigged up, and told him: "You take the first ride; we'll toss you about on the vine."(i)

Then Kaulu arrived and said to the akua: "'Ea, why don't all of you ride the swing together first; I'll pull the rope for you. Where I come from, one person remains above on the branch and pulls the swing for those below. It's fun!"

Kaulu climbed above, and after all the akua got on the swing, he cut the rope and they fell to their deaths.

The remaining akua tried one last trick to get rid of Kaeha. They invited him to go rod-fishing with them. On this fishing excursion they killed Kaeha and hid him in the shell of an 'opihi (limpet)­the kind that clings tightly to smooth boulders. Missing Kaeha again, Kaulu went in search of him. He found him in the 'opihi, but he couldn't pry the 'opihi off the rock, so he pissed on the 'opihi, and released Kaeha. His urine caused all the 'opihi of this kind to become bitter ('awa'awa) to this day; it is called 'opihi 'awa. This 'opihi, which is found clinging to the rocks at low tide, is also called "kukae" ("shit").

(To Part 2. Kaulu Returns to O'ahu.)

"Kaulu" in Hawaiian and English is found in Fornander, Vol. IV, (522-533; referred to as Version 1 in the following notes) and in Vol. V (364-371; referred to as Version 2 in the following notes). Kamakau provides a chant about a voyaging chief named Kaulu, also from Kailua, O'ahu, and perhaps the same person as the hero of this story: "It is said that he traveled throughout Kahiki, saw all the kingdoms of the world, and saw the whirlpool Manawaikaio'o. It was he who brought the edible dirt, lepo 'ai, to Kawainui in Kailua, O'ahu." (Tales and Traditions of the People of Old, 92-3).

(a) Kuka'ohi'alaka and Hinaulu'ohi'a are gods of the forest, associated with the 'ohi'a tree. "Kaulu" means "to grow, to increase, to spread, to protect," all of which are properties of this protective fertility god. When the gods refuse to give Kaulu more food, he raids the garden of the gods and takes all that he wants.

(b) In Version 2, Kaulu's brother is named Kaholeha; Kane and Kanaloa take him to the island of Kuaihelani against his will.

(c) In Version 2, Kaulu's right hand is named Limakaukahi.

(d) In Version 2, Kaulu encounters other enemies during a voyage to the land of Kuaihelani--Keaumiki and Keauka (ingoing and outgoing currents) as well as some ghosts.

(e) Makali'i is a name of a month at the end of the year and the name of a cluster of stars, the Pleiades, which appears in the east at sunset at the end of the year, when the makahiki, or harvest festival began in ancient Hawai'i. Makali'i is also the name of a stingy farmer who was noted for gathering up all the food plants in a net and keeping them from human beings, suggesting allegorically the end of the year when plants are no longer producing fruits and vegetables. Kaulu, takes food from the garden of the gods, which is always productive.

(f) In version 2, the name of the shark is Kalake'enuiakane.

(g) 'Ikuwa ("Noisy, thunderous") is the name of a lunar month at the end of the year.

(h) Version 2: "When they were ready to come away, Kaulu said to his brother: 'You go on ahead, I will follow behind.' Kaulu then urinated and the sea was restored to its former condition. But it was bitter and has smelled bad to this day; it was not so before."

(i) The Hawaiian swing was a single rope, usually a cord of twisted koali (morning glory vine). The name of the game "lele koali" means "swinging vine." The word "ka," translated here as "toss," also means "murder."

Kaulu, Part 2

Returns to O'ahu
After Kaulu brought Kaeha to life, they returned to O'ahu. They arrived at Kapapakolea in Moanalua. Kaulu left Kaeha there and continued on to Kapalama in search of Haumea. Haumea was a female akua that lived at Niuhelewai, O'ahu (a).

When he arrived, he found Haumea asleep. Kaulu called out: "E Haumea, why don't you get up and cook your food. After that, let's fight."

When Haumea sat up, Kaulu leaped up into the sky to Makali'i, who asked him: "What do you want, e Kaulu?"

"I've come for your nets. Give them to me so I can kill Haumea."

Makali'i gave Kaulu two nets (koko)­Maoleha and its mate (b). Kaulu then returned and found Haumea asleep again. He surrounded the house with the nets, after which he called out to Haumea: "Are you going to continue sleeping? Why don't you get up and fight?"

Haumea woke up and tried this way and that to get out of the house, but she was trapped inside by the nets. Kaulu began to run around the house. Haumea tried to get out and grab him and was entangled in the nets. Kaulu then killed her and went back for Kaeha (c). They returned to Kailua, O'ahu, their birthplace, where their parents still lived.

Lonoka'eho, the king of Ko'olau at this time, lived in Kailua. He had a very prominent forehead (lae 'oi) (d), and was called Pi'okeanuenue ("Arch of the rainbow"). Soon after Kaulu returned to Kailua, he went to the king's house and asked the attendants: "Who is that man with the furrowed brow (lae lapalapa)?"

"Lonoka'eho," replied one of the attendants. Then they went and told Lonokaeho: "This youngster has insulted you."

"What did he say?"

"He said, 'Who is that man with the furrowed brow?'"

Lonoka'eho said to Kaulu: "To dare to come here, you must be strong."

Kaulu replied: "I have a little strength, not much."

Lonoka'eho's forehead then rose up to heaven and came down to kill Kaulu; but Kaulu chanted:

E Kaulu e, dig down;
E Kaulu e, stretch out;
E Kaulu e, double up.
Four singles, Four doubles.

Kaulu's hands then asked: "What is it?"

Kaulu replied: "Hold up what is above; hold down what is below."

Lonoka'eho's forehead was held down to the ground. The 'ohi'a trees and the grass grew over it and thus Lonoka'eho died on that famous hill of Olomana, which stands to this day (e).

Kaulu then proceeded on to Ka'o'io point at Kualoa, where Mokoli'i was living, an evil wizard (kupua 'ino) in the form of a rat. No one who came within his reach was spared; all were eaten. He sat and watched by the wayside for people, then cunningly coaxed them to come nearer.

When Kaulu arrived there, Mokoli'i asked him: "Where are you from?"

"From here."

"Yes, you will be my meal today."

"Only if you are strong."

Mokoli'i then leaped at Kaulu like a sudden storm, and held him with his teeth. Kaulu flew up with Mokoli'i, and when they got into the blue sky he dropped Mokoli'i, breaking him into pieces. Mokoli'i died, and the place became the property of Kaulu (f).

Kaulu and Kaeha lived together until the death of Kaeha, when Kaulu took a wife named Kekele, a very handsome woman, without bumps or defects, whose breath and skin were as fragrant as 'inamona (a relish made by crushing cooked kukui nut meat and mixing it with salt). She was a very quiet woman. She was fond of hala (pandanus), maile (a vine), 'ie'ie (a vine) and all other fragrant leaves. When she retired at night she used to sleep with her hala wreaths and would wear them until they were dried up; therefore the hala trees at Kekele were planted for her and still grow there today. Kaulu and Kekele lived as husband and wife until their death, without having any children.

To Part 1. Kaulu Rescues his Brother

"Kaulu" in Hawaiian and English is from Fornander, Vol. IV, (522-533; referred to as Version 1 in the following notes) and from Vol. V (364-371; referred to as Version 2 in the following notes).

(a). Haumea, sometimes identified with Papa, or the Earth mother, also has a negative aspect as a cannibal spirit: "No one who fell in her way was saved; all were eaten up." She is associated with famine in one tradition.

(b). Koko was a net for carrying or hanging a calabash.

(c). Version 2: "Kaulu returned with the nets and he again found Haumea asleep. Kaulu then surrounded the house with four thicknesses of real fish nets and two thicknesses of the nets of Makali'i, Maoleha and its mate. When Kaulu saw that the house of Haumea was completely encompassed with nets, he called out in a loud voice:

Wake up, Haumea,
It's daylight, the cock has crowed,
Darkness has fled,
Makali'i [the Pleiades] has risen.
Here I am, Kaulu,
Your opponent. You must wake up.

"When Haumea heard the call, she woke up and looking about saw that she was entirely surrounded with nets. She then began to tear them with her teeth. After cutting through four fish nets, she came to the nets of Makali'i, Maoleha, and its mate. Haumea was unable to cut these nets, and became so entangled and exhausted that she went to sleep. While she was asleep, Kaulu set the house on fire, which consumed Haumea, killing her."

(d) cf. Maha'oi, "sharp temple"' to thrust forward one's be rude or insolent.

(e). Version 2: "The first forehead then came down, the one of sharp rock, but Kaulu dodged it, so it missed him and struck the ground. The 'ie'ie and the maile vines crawled over and covered it, which prevented it from getting up again. When the forehead tried to get up it was unable to move. In the same way all of the other [seven] foreheads of Lonoka'eho were overcome, and Kaulu thereby came to possess all of Ko'olau."

(f). Mokoli'i is the name of the small islet off Kualoa, now commonly called Chinaman's Hat. Moli'i, which may be the same name shortened, is a fishpond on shore. This story of Kaulu's fight with Mokoli'i is from version 2. Another tradition says that Pele's sister Hi'iaka killed Mokoli'i, identified as a mo'o, or lizard, rather than a rat. The coastal plain around O'ahu narrows near Kualoa; it was a place where tradition warned travelers to be wary, as they might be ambushed, robbed, and killed there.


Nu'upia was the father, Halekou the mother, and Puniakai'a, the son; their 'aina was Kane'ohe. The parents were ali'i of Ko'olauloa and Ko'olaupoko. (a) Puniakai'a was very good looking, without blemishes or deformities, his back, front, and sides straight like the pali.

Puniakai'a wanted to go to the beach one day to catch a pauhuuhu (a baby uhu, or parrot fish), so his mother took him, and he caught one and named it Uhu-maka'ika'i.(b) He raised it until it was full grown, then set it free to live in the open sea. It was the parent of all fish (ka makua o na i'a a pau loa).


One day people from Makapu'u point to Ka'o'io point in Kualoa were called to go fishing, and Puniakai'a went along. At the fishing spot, Puniakai'a called out to Uhumaka'ika'i:

E Uhumaka'ika'i
Come here, come here,
Come, come here, Come, come here,
Here I am, Puniakai'a,
Bring all of the fish,
The stench will rise on the beach,
The pigs will eat some and leave some,
The dogs will eat some and waste some.(c)

Responding to the chant, Uhumaka'ika'i called all the fish from the depths to the surface of the sea, and they came up onto the beach. The people gathered up the fish, salted some, and gave some away, and still there was fish left, so the pigs and dogs ate the rest.(d) The news of this great catch spread along the coast and reached Ka'alaea, a woman whose beauty was without equal in all of Ko'olau.(e)
Ka'alaea's ten brothers arrived first, each in his own canoe, and Ka'alaea came in the eleventh. They landed on the beach where the fish had come ashore. Ka'alaea sat on the sand, not wandering around, but calmly watching the men and women gathering fish.

Puniakai'a saw the beautiful Ka'alaea sitting there quietly, not a gadabout like the other women, so he said to his mother Halekou, "E Halekou, I am going to get that woman for myself because she is very beautiful, without blemishes or deformities; her beauty is equal to mine." Halekou agreed, "Yes, she should be your wife; you two are alike in body, goodness, and beauty. Go after that woman for yourself."

Puniakai'a approached Ka'alaea and asked her to be his woman, and she agreed. Then he told her, "When we go before our mother, don't be bashful; go and sit on her lap."(f)

They went before Halekou, the mother, and Ka'alaea sat on her lap; in a little while, Halekou ordered the men to load fish into the ten canoes of Ka'alaea's ten brothers, just as all the other canoes that came had been loaded. Thus, the wealth of fish was a valuable tribute to all the people, and Halekou paid tribute to Ka'alaea, as did Nu'upia, the father, and Puniakai'a. Ka'alaea only gave herself as a gift, but this gift was greater than the gifts of Puniakai'a and his parents.

When the gift-giving was over, Ka'alaea returned home with her brothers and parents. Then Puniakai'a asked Halekou if he could go and live with Ka'alaea, and she replied, "E my child, listen, when you go to live with your wife, you will be treated cruelly and return home shortly."

After Halekou spoke to her son, Puniakai'a went to Ka'alaea's place and the two of them lived together as man and wife. At meal times Puniakai'a's brothers-in-law prepared the food, and Puniakai'a sat on the lap of one of them while they fed him. This treatment continued for a long time; Puniakai'a just ate and slept with his wife.

One day while they slept, an aunt of Ka'alaea came by with some people going crabbing. This aunt said, "E Ka'alaea, wake up and go crabbing with us. What do you do all day? You only sleep, wake up, pick the dried mucous out of your eyes, catch flies, and eat!" While she was talking, Puniakai'a was watching from beneath the soft, gauzy kapa covers. The aunt didn't know he was awake and listening.

Puniakai'a was very angry at her words, so he sulked and refused to answer his brothers-in-law, or to eat with them as before. The brothers-in-law wondered why he was sulking. Puniakai'a stayed in bed night and day for three weeks, so the brothers-in-law assembled all the men, women, and children in one place, and asked them, one by one, who had insulted Puniakai'a. No one confessed.

Then they asked Puniakai'a who had insulted him, and he told them, "Our aunt insulted me. One day while my wife and I slept, this aunt came with some others and said 'E Ka'alaea, wake up and come crabbing with us. What will you gain by just sleeping, getting up, picking the dried mucous out of your eyes, catching flies, and eating?' While she said this, I was lying down, peeking through the gauzy kapa covers, and I became very angry."

When the brothers-in-law heard this, they ordered the aunt beaten to death. Puniakai'a returned home to his mother. Halekou asked him what had happened, so he told her. She cried out, "See! I told you you would be treated cruelly at your wife's house, and now you know."

After a few days, Puniakai'a set out to visit Kaua'i. He went to Ka'ena Point in Wai'anae where some people sat lashing a canoe, preparing to go to Kaua'i. Puniakai'a asked them, "Where are you going?"

"To Kaua'i," they answered.

"May I come with you?"

"Why not? It's a canoe."

They let Puniakai'a join them because they saw he was handsome. They landed at Wailua, Kaua'i, where a female ali'i lived. She desired the good-looking Puniakai'a for a husband, not caring whether he was wealthy or not. And here, this woman already had a husband, a putrid one, who lived on the other side of Kaua'i.

After they lived together for a while, Puniakai'a went with his wife to the beach and met two men preparing to go fishing. Puniakai'a asked them, "What are you going to catch?"

"'O'io (bonefish); we will get two kauna (two fours, or eight), not much more."

Puniakai'a said, "Well, I can bring fish from the open sea to shore, from the depths to the surface, so the people can gather some up, leave some, salt some and let the rest rot; the pigs and dogs will eat some, and waste some."

The men replied, "You lie, we have lived here all our lives and have never seen such a run of fish."

They argued about who was right; then Puniakai'a said, "Let's bet. I will wager my life against four large ahupua'a (a land division, often from the mountains to the sea), one for my back, one for my front, and two for my sides."

The fishermen agreed to the bet and give Puniakai'a fifteen days to bring in the amount of fish he claimed he could: if the fish did not appear within the fifteen days, Puniakai'a would lose; if the fish appeared, he would win.

While Puniakai'a dallied at home, eleven days passed, and only four remained before he would lose the bet. Then some men from Wai'anae and from Kaumakapili (an area of Honolulu) began preparing some canoes to return to O'ahu, so Puniakai'a told them, "Those of you from Wai'anae may return there, but the two of you landing to Kaumakapili, go up to Nu'uanu and look down toward Kane'ohe Bay for the open door of my house. Go there, where my mother Halekou will be, and say her son Puniakai'a told you two to tell her to go and call the fish Uhumaka'ika'i to come with all the fish to Kaua'i, or else in three days Puniakai'a will be baked to death in an imu (earth oven)."

The canoe left; during the voyage, it was aided by Keaumiki and Keauka, gods of the tides and winds and friends of Puniakai'a, so the men were able to reach Kou (the old name for Honolulu Harbor and vicinity) that evening. The men from Wai'anae had decided not to stop at home because of Puniakai'a's urgent request; they paddled till they ached­all to save his life.

After landing at Kou, the crew left the canoe and went up to Nu'uanu and looked down toward Kane'ohe Bay, where the door of Puniakai'a's house was open. They went down the pali, passed through the hala groves of Kekele,(g) and arrived at the house in Kane'ohe where Halekou, Puniakai'a's mother, was sitting on a pile of mats.

They greeted her and she greeted them. Halekou asked, "What brings you here?"

"We have a message from your son."

When Halekou heard this, she wept, as did all the ali'i and maka'ainana. She cried out, "Oh! we thought Puniakai'a was dead­but no! What did he say?"

"He told us to come and tell you to call the fish Uhumaka'ika'i to bring all the fish in the sea to Kaua'i because he has a bet with the ali'i of Kaua'i; if fish appear within fifteen days, Puniakai'a will live; if not, he will die. This is the twelfth day, so only three days are left."

"Perhaps the fish won't obey me­it may only obey my son; but I will try to call it and ask for its help," she replied.

Halekou rewarded the messengers with one ahupua'a, one kapa house, one food house, one fish house, and one sleeping house; and after receiving these gifts, the messengers decided to remain in Kane'ohe, promising they would die for Puniakai'a and not abandon him.

Halekou went with all the ali'i to the place where Uhumaka'ika'i swam free, the fishpond at Nu'upia, which is still there today. Halekou called out "Come here, come here, call all the fish, O Uhumaka'ika'i, from Kona (south) and Ko'olau (north), to Kaua'i, where your master is. Don't dally, don't delay, or your master will die in an imu." When she finished calling, the sea stirred, and Uhumaka'ika'i floated up below Halekou, who reached down for it as it came up and kissed it and let it go, saying, "Go quickly, or your master will die."

On the fourteenth day, the ali'i of Kaua'i prepared an imu, along with firewood, rocks, and ti-leaf coverings, so they could roast Puniakai'a the next day. That night, the fish traveled from Kona and Ko'olau, heading for Wailua. On the fifteenth day, Puniakai'a returned to the coast with his Kaua'i wife and sat at the beach headland, watching for his pet fish, Uhumaka'ika'i.

The night before during his sleep, Puniakai'a had a dream in which he heard his fish say: "Here I am, Uhumaka'ika'i, coming. Why did you abandon me and go alone to a strange land? No love for me? If I hadn't heard about your danger, you might have died!" Puniakai'a woke suddenly and thought about the meaning of the dream. He fondly remembered Uhumaka'ika'i.

At daybreak he looked toward the sea, and saw it had turned brown with fish from the surface to its depths. Then Uhumaka'ika'i passed below him and he reached down and held the fish fondly, kissed it, and chanted gently, "'U (h), I didn't intend to leave you; when I left, I was just going to see the sights around O'ahu, then return to you, but I ended up staying here on Kaua'i, so you almost didn't find out about my mortal danger. If you hadn't come, I would have been killed!" Puniakai'a released Uhumaka'ika'i; then all the fish came ashore at Wailua; the water was filled with fish, from the deep sea to the dry sand. The people of Wailua and the ali'i who had bet with Puniakai'a agreed Puniakai'a had won. Puniakai'a gave all of Kaua'i to the owner of the canoe who had brought him from O'ahu, and the owner remained on Kaua'i as its ali'i, while Puniakai'a returned to O'ahu with his Kaua'i wife.


This story of Puniakai'a has been translated by Esther T. Mookini from the Hawaiian in Fornander, Volume 5, 154-163. Puniakai'a means "fond of fish" or "devoted to fish." Like Puniaiki (in the story of 'Ai'ai) and Nihooleki, Puniakai'a is criticized for laziness, but later proves his ability as a provider by bringing ashore a huge catch of fish.

(a) Nu'upia and Halekou are two fishponds on Mokapu Peninsula on the southeastern coast of O'ahu, in the land divsion called Kane'ohe; in the district of Ko'olaupoko that adjoins the district of Ko'olauloa on the windward coast of O'ahu. See Map of Kane'ohe Bay.

(b) Uhu (parrot fish) are found along all shores of Hawai'i and travel in schools. The school moves along behind a leader, sometimes in single file, sometimes in double file. The term for this formation is uhu-holo, or uhu-maka'ika'i ("roving or sightseeing uhu") (Titcomb 149).

(c) Cf. this farmer's chant to Kane (from Kamakau, quoted in Kirch and Sahlins), recited after the planting of a pondfield:

Pause and receive thanks, O god,
O Kane, O Kane-of-lifegiving-water;
Here is lu'au, the first leaves of our taro;
Turn back, and eat, O god;
May my family also eat,
The pigs eat,
The dogs eat.

The fact that pigs and dogs could be fed signified surplus food, i.e., plenty. Kirch and Sahlins point out that pigs and dogs represented a second order of food production, as these animals were raised on the primary foods­fish and vegetables such as taro. As such, pigs and dogs were highly prized and were used as tributes to the chiefs and offerings to the gods (pigs to the male deities, dogs to the female deities, since pork was forbidden to women) (172-3).

(d) Kane'ohe Bay was known for its swarms of uhu during May, June, and July; a spot on the Mokapu Peninsula called Keawanui was a noted feeding ground for the fish; stone-walled weirs were used to capture the schools (McAllister 185; Titcomb 149). Kenneth P. Emory, in Material Culture of the Tuamotu Archipelago (Honolulu: Bishop Museum 1975), gives an eyewitness account of the swarming of uhu near shore, similar to the swarming described in the legend of Puniakai'a: "While I was at Vahitahi in August 1930, the natives called our attention to great schools of parrotfish gathering so close together that they formed an almost solid mass moving slowly toward the lagoon passes, where they were moving out to sea. This, they said, happened every year at this time. The men rushed for their fishing spears, some of the children brought dry coconut leaves, and, moving slowly in the shallow water, they herded the separate schools to the shore. Surrounded by a semicircle of men, women, and children standing side by side and holding coconut leaves in the water, the fish were blocked from escape. When all were ready, the men speared the fish and flipped them onto the sand, the boys and girls flipped them out with their hands. In a few minutes scores of fish lay flapping on the beach" (193-4).

(e) Ka'alaea ("the ocher-colored earth") is the name of a valley and land division between He'eia and Waikane on the windward coast of O'ahu. 'Alaea, or ocher-colored earth, is highly valued as a dye, a medicine for treating internal hemorrhages, and an element in purification ceremonies. Hawaiians guarded "the smallest piece with the greatest care" (Handy et al., Hawaiian Physical Therapeutics, 17). Malo notes that 'alaea was made kapu by some fishing gods and that some fishermen who looked to these gods as their patrons would stretch "a line about their establishments to keep from entering therein anyone who had these [kapu] things about them; nor would they suffer these [kapu] things to be about their tackle" (208).

(f) Only a true son or daughter was allowed to sit on an ali'i's lap.

(g) Kekele: "The undulating plains in Kane'ohe at the foot of Nu'uanu Pali. It was a few years ago entirely covered with hala trees and the fragrance from the blossoms or ripe nuts of these trees scented the whole plains. It is always referred to in old songs and traditions as the sweet land of fragrance and perfume" (Sterling and Summers 221).

(h) "U" is a sigh or an exclamation of delight.

Traditions of Maunalua

Maunalua is located at the southeast end of O'ahu. Its name means "Two Mountains," referring to Kokohead and Koko Crater. A dry, waterless area, it belonged to the ahupua'a of Waimanalo and served as a fishing area for the people. Makapu'u ("Bulging Eyes") is the headland on the easternmost tip of O'ahu, an observation point for the waters to the east. (Photo by Anne Kapulani Landgraf.) The goddess of this headland is said to have eight eyes:

1. "Ka pali nana uhu ka'i o Makapu'u": "The cliffs for observing the traveling uhu of Makapu'u (A proverb, Pukui, 'Olelo No'eau)

2. Makapu'u is said to be a stone with lumps of black stone on its head, resembling human eyes. Makapu'u had eight bright eyes. (Sterling and Summers 258)

3. The [travelers] drew near Makapu'u Point, and Hi'iaka saw the woman Makapu'u sitting on the beach. They brought their canoe to land on the Ko'olau side of Makapu'u, near Waimanalo. The men were frightened when they saw the many eyes on the head of this supernatural person. (Sterling and Summers 257)

4. This chant speaks of the hungry god...Makapu'u and Maunalua were waterless; food was scarce:

Noho ana Makapu'u i ka lae, (Makapu'u dwells at the headland)
He wahine a ke Akua Pololi, (Wife of the Hungry God)
Pololi, 'ai-ole, make i ka pololi, e-e! (Hungry, without food, starving to death!)

(N.B. Emerson, Pele and Hiiaka­A Myth from Hawaii 87)

5. Makapu'u and Maka'aoa were sisters of the the famous voyaging chief Mo'ikeha and came to Hawai'i with him. (Sites of O'ahu 257)

6. A man named Ha'ikamalama who lived at Hanauma on O'ahu heard [the sounding of the first pahu drum brought to Hawai'i from Tahiti by La'amaikahiki] at sea and was puzzledThe sound was coming from windward, so Ha'ikamalama ran to Makapu'u to see who was sailing by. (Kamakau Tales and Traditions of the People of Old 109).

7. Makapu'u was a female kupua who came to O'ahu with the famous voyaging priest Pa'ao: "Kupua after kupua from the different islands joined the company. One was Makapu'u after whom Makapu'u Point on O'ahu was named; another was her sister 'Ihi'ihi-lauakea, for whom a hill near Koko Head was named; and the little hunchbacked Malei is still to be seen in the shape of a stone near the lighthouse at Makapu'u. (Pukui Folktales of Hawai'i 68).


The Fish Stone Malei
1. Malei, like Makapu'u, was a female kupua. She was a stone set up to attract uhu to the area. Offerings of lipoa (a seaweed) were made to her. (Sterling and Summers 258-259) Malei is also said to be a rock kupua, a relative of Pele, who came to Hawai'i from Kahiki with Pele (Pukui Folktales of Hawai'i 21).

2. 'Ai'ai then went to O'ahu, first landing at Makapu'u, in Ko'olau, where he founded a pohaku-i'a (fish stone) for red fish and speckled fish and called it Malei. This was a female rock, and the fish of that place is the uhu. The rock is referred to in a mele of Hi'iaka:

I will not go to the stormy capes of Ko'olau,
The sea-cliffs of Moeaau.
The woman watching the uhu of Makapu'u
Dwells on the ledge of Kamakani
At Ko'olau. The living
Offer grass-twined sacrifices, O Malei!

From the time 'Ai'ai founded that spawning-place until now, the fish from Makapu'u to Hanauma has been the uhu.


There were also several gathering places for fish established outside of Kawaihoa. ("'Ai'ai" in Hawaiian Fishing Traditions 23)


The Balancing Rock
A pretty woman came from Maui to visit Makapu'u and met the goddess Hi'iaka, but did not guess her identity, believing her to be a resident of that place. One day the stranger expressed the desire for uhu fish. Hi'iaka, willing to oblige a guest, begged a fish from a fisherman and brought it to her. The Maui woman ate the head end of the fish and threw away the other half. Hi'iaka was vexed and, reproaching her for throwing away what she had asked for, turned her into the balancing stone.

Long did her brother on Maui wait for his sister's return. At last he consulted a priest, who told him that his sister had been turned into a stone. If he could reach before dawn the spot where she stood, she would be restored to her own form again but if the sun struck him first, he too would become stone. He sailed in all haste for Makapu'u and had just touched shore below the cliff where his sister's form stood when the dawn broke and he was instantly turned into stone. It is said that a man may safely step over this stone but if a woman steps over it the sea rises and drowns the offender. (Sterling and Summers 258)


Koko Head--Traditions of Pele and Kapo
When Kamapua'a attacked Pele near Kalapana, Kapo [a sister of Pele] sent this kohe ["vagina"] as a lure and [Kamapua'a] left Pele and followed the kohe lele ["flying vagina"] as far as Koko Head on O'ahu, where it rested upon the hill, leaving an impression to this day on the Makapu'u side. Then she withdrew it and hid it in Kalihi. When the Hawaiians dream of a woman without a vagina it is Kapo. Since Kapo does not like this part of the body, unless a medium possessed by Kapo wears a ti leaf protection she is in danger of having this part of her body torn at. (Beckwith Hawaiian Mythology 186)


Hanauma and Kawaihoa--Traditions of Kane and Kanaloa
For background on the god Kane, see "Waiakeakua"; for stories of the two gods in Ko'olauloa, see "Kane and Kanaloa in Ko'olaupoko."

Kane and Kanaloa came from the land of Kuaihelani on a pointed cloud and arrived at Hanauma, O'ahu. Kane was a kindly god, courteous in all his ways. As they traveled about the island, Kanaloa complained of hunger and said, "O Kane! we keep on going and we are dying of hunger! Let us eat." Kane looked about and saw that there was no water for mixing their refreshment of 'awa drink. He struck the earth with his staff and water gushed forth. Wherever they stopped to rest, Kanaloa asked for food, and many were the waterholes made by Kane between Hanauma and Lae'ahi (From "Waiakeakua"; in Green and Pukui, The Legend of Kawelo 112-3).

[Kane and Kanaloa] broke open rocks so that water would gush forth--sweet, flowing water--at Waihe'e and at Kahakuloa on Maui, on Lana'i, at Waiakane in Punahou on Moloka'i and at Kawaihoa on O'ahu. (Kamakau Tales and Traditions of the People of Old 112).

Place Names of Maunalua
Mauka Place Names

Kealakipapa ("The Paved Road," from Kaloko to Makapu'u)

Ke Kula o Kamauwai (Coastal Plain from Kealakipapa to Kamiloiki; a sweet potato growing area)

Kalama (Valley, "The Lama Tree")

Kamehame (Ridge; "The Mehame, or Hame Tree")

Koko (Crater, "Blood"; ancient name for the crater: Kohe-lepelepe, lit. "vagina fringe," or Labia Minor")

Pu'u Ma'i (Highest Point on Koko Crater, 1208 ft.; Ma'i = "Genitals")

Kamiloiki (Valley, "The Little Milo Tree")

Kamilonui (Valley, "The Big Milo Tree")

Kaluanui (Ridge, "The Big Pit")

Haha'ione (Valley, "Broken Sand")

Mauna 'Oahi (Ridge, "Fire-Hurling Mountain")

Ka'alakei (Valley, "Proud Water-Worn Stone")

Makai Place Names

Makapu'u (Point, "Bulging Eyes"; a female kupua; a stone with eyes on it)

Miana (Point at the base of Makapu'u; "Urinal")

Ke Ana o ke Akua Pololi ("The Cave of the Hungry God"; Ke Akua Pololi, The Hungry God was the husband of Makapu'u; a black stone with eight eyes was found in the cave)

Moeau (Point, "Resting Current")

Kipahulu (Hill, "Fetch [from] Exhausted Gardens")

Napai'a (Flat, "The Noisiness")

Kaloko ("The Pond")

Wawamalu (Beach; or Awawamalu, "Shady Gulch")

'Oku'u (Underwater healing stone; "Crouch"; people swam over or crouched next to the stone for good health; the stone is where the sand begins at Sandy Beach toward Halona

Halona ("Lookout")

Hanauma ("Curved Bay")

'Ihi'ihilauakea ("Wide-leafed'Ihi'ihi [a fern]"; Crater, a Wind of Hanauma Bay)

Nono'ula (Crater next to 'Ihi'ihilauakea, "Flushed, Blushed"; "Red from Sunburn")

Kuamo'o [o] Kane; (Hill, highest on Koko Head, 642 feet; "Backbone of Kane"; a place to study the wind; the ridge on which Kane and Kanaloa drank 'awa)

Kawaihoa (Point below Kuamo'o Kane; "The Companion's Water")

Kuapa (Pond, lit. "Fishpond Wall")

Kuli'ou'ou, "Knee Sounding," referring to a Knee Drum; Kuli=Knee; 'Ou'ou=Sound of the drum)

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